This week we failed Aleppo. Hilary blamed Russia. Obama made threats. China stole a drone. Moscow got a skating rink up where Philly cream cheese comes from. The UN fired Wonder Woman. And if you’re reading this… Mozart moved more records than Drake in 2016.
Zadie Smith, accepting an award in Germany just after the US election, delivered this beautiful, despairing yet hope-filled speech about time travel, multiculturalism, and the finer music we’re not hearing right now, but that humanity will always eventually play.
As my dear, soon-departing president well understood, in this world there is only incremental progress. Only the willfully blind can ignore that the history of human existence is simultaneously the history of pain: of brutality, murder, mass extinction, every form of venality and cyclical horror. No land is free of it; no people are without their bloodstain; no tribe entirely innocent. But there is still this redeeming matter of incremental progress. It might look small to those with apocalyptic perspectives, but to she who not so long ago could not vote, or drink from the same water fountain as her fellow citizens, or marry the person she chose, or live in a certain neighborhood, such incremental change feels enormous.
“Every artist is a small factory of culture.” After the Oakland fire, we must continue to fight for those impossible DIY spaces that allow shambolic, limitless creation outside of the parameters of normal living. As Brian Chippendale argues in a whip-smart essay for The Creative Independent, our culture depends on these “life affirming death traps.”
Only a man insulated from racial prejudice could become President, he says. And only that man could have so grossly miscalculated what comes next. Read: “My President Was Black” by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic.
“Bestsellers are the mayflies of the book world: they live only for a day.” Frances Wilson on The Bestseller Code and man’s algorithm-powered quest to chop storytelling into its basic bits.
To say that no enterprise can do without management is almost tautological. So why is it that managers seem so anxious, in need of constant validation? It's the result of consultants passing their faddish, purposefully disorienting jargon off as theory. Of course this has confused professional managers, the marks of this long con. But The Economist has fallen prey as well, making the conclusion that management theory is in need of reform. But maybe we all just need to stop taking these Chicken Little consultants so seriously. Instead of running from fad to fad, appealing to these "friars" of capitalism, energy might be better spent reflecting on the nuance of our own experience in the trenches.
The New Inquiry on the banal scourge that is the modern NPR podcast, “full of statements that sound like facts, that do nothing more than reinforce and rationalize the listeners’ already formed common sense, rather than transforming it.”
It May Not Feel Like Anything To Be an Alien
WaPo came out with a browser plugin that lets you fact check Trump tweets right in the mofo tweets themselves.
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